IT’S not all a sad story for host Philippines in the 17th Asian Continental Chess Championships-2nd Manny Pacquiao Cup at the Tiara Oriental Hotel in Makati.
WGM Janelle Mae Frayna finished a fighting fourth in the women’s blitz chess championships -- the equally-exciting side event of the prestigious competition hosted by the National Chess Federation of the Philippines (NCFP) and supported by the Philippine Sports Commission (PSC).
Frayna, who made history when she became the country’s first-ever WGM in 2016, finished with six points on five wins, two draws and two losses in the nine-round tournament which attracted 35 players from 14 countries.
That’s only 1.5 point behind eventual champion WGM Wang Jue of China, one point behind WGM Thi Bao Tram Hoang of Vietnam and half a point behind IM Le Thao Nguyen Pham of Vietnam.
The Filipina standout from many-time UAAP champion Far Eastern University actually finished in a five-player tie for fourth to eighth places with six points.
Frayna, the 22-year-old pride of Legazpi City, Albay, clicnhed fourth place by virtue of higher tiebreak score.
Also in the group of six pointers are Zhang Xiao of China, WIM Catherine Perena-Secopito, WGM Gong Qianyuan of Singapore and WGM Thi Kim Phung Vo of Vietnam.
WIM Bernadette Galas of the Philippines finished in solo ninth place with 5.5 points.
IM Rout Padmini, who topped the standard tournament and clinched a ticket to the World Cup, led six other players in 10th to 16th places with five points.
WIM Jan Jodiln Fronda, who emerged as the highest-placed Filipina player at 16th player in the standard competition, and WFM Shania Mae Mendoza finished with the same score as the Indian champion.
With Rout and the two Filipina players are Sivanesan Nithyalashmi of Malaysia, WFM Li Yunshan of China, IM Guliskhan Nakhbayeva of Kazakhstan and Li Xueyi of China.
In the men’s blitz competition, IM Roderick Nava earned the distinction as the best Filipino performer with six points – good for ninth place.
Nava, also coach of the Lyceum of the Philippines University in the NCAA, finished with five wins, two draws and two losses.
The Carmona, Cavite-based Nava finished behind two Iranian GMs Alireza Firouzja (7.5 points) and M. Amin Tabatabaei (7 points), and Santosh Gujrathi Vidit of India, Tuan Minh Tran of Vietnam, GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam, GM Le Quang LIem of Vietnam, GM S. P. Sethuraman of India and GM Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan.
Earlier, GM Wei Yi of crowned himself as champion and IM Ricardo de Guzman emerged as the top Filipino performer in the standard competition.
Wei settled for a draw with GM M. Amin Tabatabaei of Uzbekistan in the ninth and final round to finish in a three-way tie for first place with Tabataei and GM Le Quang LIem of Vietnam with 6.5 points, but clinched the title by virtue of a higher tiebreak score.
Le defeated GM Surya Shekhar Ganguly of India to join Wei and Tabatabaei in first place at the close of the prestigious 64-player, 14-nation tournament.
The three players- Wei, Tabatabaei and Le-- earned tickets to the World Chess Cup scheduled next year.
Ganguly and GM Nguyen Ngoc Truong Son of Vietnam, who halved the point with GM S. P. Sethuraman of India, to complete the top five qualifiers to the World Cup.
Actually, Ganguly and Nguyen led an eight-man group with six points, but took the last two tickets to the World Cup also due to higher tiebreak scores.
Also finishing with six points but missing the cut were GMs Nodirbek Abdusattorov of Uzbekistan, Parham Maghsoodloo of Iran, Babu M.R.Lalith of India, S.P. Sethuraman of India, B. Adhiban of India and Santosh Vidit of India.
De Guzman, a three-time Olympiad veteran trying to make his presence felt in the world stage again, battled No. 18 seed GM Abhimanyu Puranik of India to a draw to finish in a nine-way tie for 20th to 28th places with 5.5 points.
Overall, De Guzman finished in 23rd place — the highest of the 20-man Filipino team.
GM John Paul Gomez also finished in the same group of De Guzman following draw with No. 23 GM Tan Zhongyi of China in the final round.
Gomez settled for 27th place after the tiebreak.
GM Rogelio Antonio, Jr. outduelled newly-crowned Asian Senior schampion IM Chito Garma and Jerad Docena nipped IM John Marvin Miciano in a pair of All-Filipino matches that enabled them to climb to a share of 29th to 37th places with 4.5 points.